It’s notoriously difficult, at times, for British artists to break in the United States, to garner the same amount of success here than they do in their home country.
T.I. isn't the best singer, but he got a fitting hook and an easy beat for "Love This Life," which his label Grand Hustle/Atlantic is dubbing as the first single from long-awaited album "Trouble Man."
So a centerpiece for "Man" is T.I.'s woman, on whom he spends his energy with "Love This Life."
"You know, you love / Bitch, you know you love this life/ Don't nobody do you like me," T.I. reiterates on the refrain. Because if there's one thing that ladies love, is being told what they like. And to be called bitch.
Beyond some obvious strain between romance and being a hustler, T.I. has dropped a generally likeable, Mars-produced track, his flow bounding after the beat with ease and an accessible drum sample that could take it to top 40 and not just the rap charts.
No insight has been revealed as to when to expect "Trouble Man" except "later this year; there have been some fits and starts in getting an album proper from TIP ever since he left the pokey in late summer last year. He's launched his reality show "T.I & Tiny: The Family Hustle," put out a book last fall, premiered a mixtape on New Year's Day in 2012 and has dropped a few promotional singles with "I'm Flexin'" featuring Big K.R.I.T. as the biggest standout. It didn't track so big with crossover radio, so maybe that's why there's a push with "Love."
T.I. is on tap as producer of Iggy Azalea's forthcoming debut album "The New Classic"; he will also star along side of Kelsey Grammer in Starz series "Boss."
What do you think of "Love This Life?"
It’s been said before, but it’s worth reiterating, especially in consideration of “Pink Friday: Roman Reloaded”: Nicki Minaj is a rapper, a better rapper than she is a singer. Let the rapper rap.
In my interview with Whitney Houston last fall, she spoke much of the themes of motherhood in her forthcoming remake of the 1976 film "Sparkle." In the first look at the film in the newly released trailer, it seems to feature a lot of that, and what it is to be a teenager and a rising star.
The film clip debuted this morning, featuring its namesake played by Jordin Sparks, plus other top cast like Mike Epps, Carmen Ejogo, Tike Sumpter, Derek Luke and -- yup! -- Cee Lo Green. Houston appears as the Williams sisters' sassy mom, who considers her past as a rising star that never reached her potential.
The film promises to integrate music from the Motown era, plus new compositions from R. Kelly with input from executive producer Whitney Houston herself. The trailer doesn't indicate yet what the late singer's big number in the film will look like, but with all that talent, it's not a question "what" song, but just how many.
Bjork and the DPs collaborated on "Mount Wittenberg Orca" and now, more than ever, the Icelandic star's influence on frontman Dave Longstreth's voice is heard like never before on new track "Gun Has No Trigger." I enjoy the boldness of his biggest notes here, and that cold, surreal phrasing. I also continue to applaud the return of his backing singers Amber Coffman, Haley Dekle and Angel Deradoorian who sing like the women that they are (as opposed to sounding like little girls).
But don't look for the hooky, boppy arrangement like those that were all over 2009's "Bitte Orca." This is a much sadder, simpler track.Longstreth told SPIN to expect as much.
The Flaming Lips tapped into some seriously weird talent for their forthcoming collaborative album “The Flaming Lips and Heady Fwends” -- weird, not just in type, but the breadth. The Oklahoma-based rock band put their heads together with noise rockers Lightning Bolt for something called “ I'm Working At NASA On Acid,” but then flipped a cover of “The First Time Ever I Saw Your Face” with Erykah Badu. Other big names like Coldplay’s Chris Martin, Jim James of My Morning Jacket, Yoko Ono and Nick Cave grace the track list of “Fwends,” but it was Ke$ha that surprised Lips frontman Wayne Coyne the most.
Making your way through a new Mars Volta record isn’t that it's always a challenge; there’s just always the promise of density and compositions that take some digestion. With newest “Noctourniquet,” there’s also bigger bevy of memorable refrains than before, with fewer diatribes. The songs are singular and tighter, too. This may piss some fans off.
I like Regina Spektor's new single "All the Rowboats" an awful lot, and now the track from "What We Saw From the Cheap Seats" went and got itself a matching music video.
The singer-songwriter isn't the most convincing pantomime (or lip-syncer), and the animation is a little touch-and-go, but much like that song, it seems to be more about atmosphere than anything else. The serious and ominous track puts Spektor's beautiful mug under a very large bed of hair and sets to work on causing her much discomfort. Sometimes the rocking of a boat is the only comfort.
"My beautiful friends Adria Petty, Peter Sluszka and Ivan Abel co-directed it! It was like getting the band back together- I love their brains and hearts! So many people worked very hard on this and it was really interesting to make. I hope you enjoy!!!!!" she enthused on her Facebook page.
"What We Saw from the Cheap Seats" is out on May 29; another song from it, "Don't Leave Me- (Ne Me Quitte Pas)," bowed last week. You can also find the tracklist via that link. The pre-order for the iTunes digital deluxe version of the album is open today.
Spektor will also release a pair of Russian cover songs on Record Store Day, April 21.
The problem with posting the lyrics to a new song is that there may be a heavier reading into said song than intended or necessary. But when it comes to the Flaming Lips, they might not care one way or another. The experiment is much more necessary to the adventure.
That could be said of "Ashes in the Air," their collaboration with Bon Iver's Justin Vernon for their Record Store Day collaborative effort "The Flaming Lips and Heady Fwends." Even if the sheet of lyrics hadn't revealed its exacting phrases, the words "f*cked up" and "robot dogs" would surely jump out at you anyway. Laser sounds and synths swirl around this little dirge, a death salute suitable to Vernon's usual style.
See ya in six minutes, if you last.
The Shins’ “Port of Morrow” runs into the same problems that albums like those from the New Pornographers or of Montreal do. There is a calculation and formula to great pop songwriting, and its expert writers sometimes struggle to distinguish each song as an individual work. There’s only small windows of spontaneous possibilities, like the predictable pinch-hits of Nels Cline when a Wilco song gets lost.